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Interview by Kap Maceda Aguila
HYUNDAI MOTOR Philippines, Inc. (HMPH), which now controls the local passenger car distributorship of the Korean automotive giant, recently brought its vehicles even closer to where people converge.
The company’s lineup was on display at the Hyundai Mobility Adventure (HMA) showcase held in the Glorietta Activity Center, Ayala Center, Makati City. The theme was derived from the Roblox game platform, where Hyundai holds fort in the metaverse space. Three dedicated virtual zones — Global Driving Center, Philippine Driving Studio, and Philippine Local Culture Zone — were featured there in February until March 1.
“Hyundai Motor is proud to be the first global automotive company to offer such an innovation. For the brand, there are no limits to mobility which is why it equally devotes time and effort toward linking human beings in the real world with objects and tasks in the digital space or metaverse,” said HMPH Managing Director Cecil Capacete in a release. “At HMPH, we embrace this way of thinking as it reminds and encourages us to live out our local tagline of ‘Innovate Everyday.’ Our special feature in HMA helps us not only reassure the local market that Hyundai is and will continuously be a leader in future mobility but also ignite inspiration and aspiration among a younger audience.”
On the sidelines of the event, “Velocity” had a chance to talk exclusively with HMPH President Dong Wook Lee about how the company did in 2022, its plans for the new year, and what its top priorities are. Based on Philippine Automotive Dealers Association data, the company sold 2,595 units in 2022 — peaking in November with 600 vehicles moved. It must be noted that the number includes the months when Hyundai was under the control of Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. HMPH commenced retail operations in June.
Here are excerpts from our interview.
VELOCITY: How happy are you with the company’s 2022 sales performance?
DONG WOOK LEE: We are satisfied with our 2022 performance, but we’ve just started. In 2022, it was about focusing on consumer confidence. We want them not to worry about the Hyundai brand. This year, we will focus on giving our customers the time and opportunity to enjoy our products, and a chance to understand our products more deeply. The most important thing is our relationship with our customer. Currently, our sales number is a little bit lower than projected, but we anticipate that after more people get a chance to enjoy our product, our sales number will increase continuously. I believe that at the end of this year, we’ll see better performance.
Are we going to see more activities like this mall display?
Yes. For example, this March we want our customers to see our Ioniq 5 on the road. We have already delivered cars to our dealers. Through this kind of event, customers can easily access our products, even enjoy test drives, and explore (vehicle) features. Then we hope our sales number increases.
What are your main goals for the year?
In 2023, we want our customer satisfaction index to increase. We will also launch new models.
Can you tell us what these are?
There will be one totally new model, and an additional variant for the Stargazer. We will be launching at the Manila International Motor Show (MIAS), and in June we will prepare for our anniversary event.
What kind of feedback are you getting from customers?
We’re getting good feedback and comments from customers — especially in the case of the Staria, Tucson, Ioniq 5, and Palisade. So many customers have been waiting for them, so we will increase our supply. We will also prepare worry-free packages. For example, in the case of the Ioniq 5, we will provide free home charging cable installation, a five-year PMS package, and 24-hour roadside assistance by the third quarter. We want to emphasize that worry-free aspect.
How is HMPH doing with regard to unit supply?
Currently, we have challenges regarding supply, but we anticipate it to get better. For example, volume has already been increasing from December to January to February. More customers are enjoying our cars and products. Hopefully, this will continue to improve. Also, our dealership network is preparing for enhanced after-sales service.
When HMPH first took over the business, you promised to put more vehicles in your dealers’ showrooms. Have you kept this promise?
Yes, our customer waiting time is getting shorter and shorter. In the case of the Staria, the wait used to be six months. Now, it’s much, much shorter.